The International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), my most beloved professional organization, begins its annual world conference this weekend.
But I won’t be attending.
Since I began my organizational communication career way back in 1973, I have rarely missed an IABC World Conference. But things change. Careers take new directions.
Presently, I am completing work on a doctorate in Instructional Technology at Towson University. I have finished my course work and now am taking a series of six comprehensive exams, one a month for a half-year. I have a demanding one this month, so here I am.
I’d normally be on a plane right now headed to San Diego, but I am in my home office reviewing the research foundations of instructional technology to prepare for this month’s comp exam. I will miss the professional development, networking, fellowship, and sheer stimulation of the world conference, but I cannot justify the time away. My priority right now is to successfully complete these comp exams so I can finish my dissertation and my doctorate. Three comp exams down, and three to go.
IABC has been my “graduate school” for most of my career. When I wanted to learn and grow, IABC was there for me. I could always find what I needed or make a contact that could help me. As a source of professional development, IABC is unmatched. I can honestly say that I owe any success I’ve had in my career to IABC.
IABC has given me professional development, a large network of contacts/colleagues, and the best of friends, all very important aspects of my life. Now, as a senior lecturer in the PR Track of Towson’s Mass Comm. department, I try to introduce my students to the value of professional association membership. I believe it is the single most rewarding investment a person can make in his or her career. I hope they will join, stay active, and benefit as greatly as I have.
I miss being a part of the world conference, but I am there in spirit.